From: David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Catholic Bishop of Nnewi diocese, Nnewi, Anambra State, Most Rev Paul Odili Okeke has urged media practitioners in the country to avoid sensationalism in their reportage.
Bishop Okeke, who was represented by Vicar General of the diocese, Monsignor Ezeobata, at a mass to commemorate World Communication Day at Assumption Cathedral, Nnewi, said that news stories about ugly events had become the major contents of both the electronic and print media news packages in Nigeria today.
The clergy noted that the prominence given to “man bites dog” type of news to make more money by the media houses without giving equal attention to community development stories had become worrisome.
He said that the situation had negatively affected the much needed development of the Nigerian society as more prominence to crises like the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents, Indigenous People of Biafra, Niger Delta militants, Fulani herdsmen, among others had continued to feature prominently in the nation’s media. The Bishop called for a change of attitude to balance news stories, reflecting the positive aspects of the society.
In his contribution, the director of communications, Nnewi Catholic diocese, Very Rev. Fr Hyginus Aghaulo noted that many media practitioners have placed high premium on bad news to get gratifications and make quick money.
He said that though times were hard and many bad things happened, this must be balanced as good things also happened on a daily basis in society.
He reiterated the message of Pope Francis on the need to break the cycle of anxiety among the populace and that both the traditional and social media were saddled with the responsibility of protecting and sustaining world peace.
“Traditionally, the press is saddled with the onerous job of informing, educating, and entertaining. Information, like we know is a very powerful weapon in today’s world,” the clergy explained
In a paper titled “Fear Not, I’m With You ” which is the theme of this year’s World Communication Day, presented on the occasion by the former commissioner for information in Anambra State, Chief Joe Matins Uzodike, media practitioners were urged to do their work fearlessly and without bias or sentiments.